Rivian Tailgate for Electric Pickup Comes Out Swinging

The Rivian R1T pure-electric pickup truck looks set to be equipped with a unique tailgate that slides down behind the vehicle.

Based in Michigan, Rivian has filed a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization that shows details of a tailgate that has two distinct modes of operation.

Traditional trucks have a tailgate that folds down 90 degrees, pivoting at the base and ending up laying flat, sticking out behind the truck. Rivian’s design maintains this method.

However, it’s also added a second opening technique that sees the tailgate slide down vertically, with the top of the tailgate ending up parallel with the now exposed load bed.

The patent states that a “swing and drop tailgate is configured to undergo two distinct motions, each with advantages depending on circumstances. The swing and drop tailgate can undergo a rotation motion about a hinge, as well as a swing down motion via a linkage. The swing down motion allows closer access to the bed, and extends less far from the rear of the vehicle as compared to the drop motion.”

Of course, some pickups already feature tailgates that can rotate by 180 degrees, ending up in the same position as Rivian’s invention, but the patent touches on some of the benefits to its method. Chief amongst them is that the tailgate operation area won’t need to extend as far out from the vehicle, which can be almost half a metre. That will allow easier access to the load bed, as well as enable access in more confined space. A set of latches to prevent the tailgate dropping too far could also allow easier operation when hooked up to a trailer.

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However, while the patent has been filed, that doesn’t mean it will make it into the production Rivian R1T electric pickup truck. Even then, Tesla’s Cybertruck promises a more interesting tailgate that can be extended to form a ramp straight into the load bed. Already, Honda’s Ridgeline truck features a tailgate that can also swing open sideways, while GM’s MultiPro tailgate includes a fold-out step for easier access to the load bed.